Test Drive (2012) – Bb Cl., Bsn, C Tpt., Trb., 1 Perc., Vln., D.B.
Winner of the 2012 Michigan State University Honors Competition New Music Category
Test Drive, a composition for mixed chamber ensemble, was inspired by Leonard Bernstein’s Prelude, Fugue & Riffs, West Side Story, and Louis Andriessen’s Hoketus. The significance of the ensemble is the instrumentation that is used in Test Drive is similar, if not exactly, the same instrumentation that was used in Igor Stravinsky’s Histoire du Suldat. This composition is comprised of three movements that involve jazz influences as well as the influences mentioned earlier.
The first movement thrives from a syncopated rhythm that represents the engine of a car. As the syncopated rhythm continues through the entire movement, jazz-influenced idioms appear within the melody.
The second movement features a slow, thick texture that is created from the overlapping parts based off the syncopated rhythm presented from the first movement. The use of dovetailing, having one instrument blending within another group of instruments, results the overall texture from being one musician to a large group of musicians.
The third movement is specifically influenced by Andriessen’s Hoketus with random “big band” pops and repeating accompaniment. Throughout the movement, the material develops bit by bit, while being driven by the syncopated rhythms until the ensemble reaches the recap of the first movement. As the movement reaches the recap of the first movement, the ensemble drives in an energetic manner that ends the composition with a bang.